I saw a blog post the other day suggesting you should buy a workstation computer for home use. But I didn’t think it made a very convincing argument beyond saying it was a way to save money. So why buy a workstation computer, then? In a word, quality.
True workstation-grade computers, like an HP Z, Lenovo Thinkcentre or Dell Precision, are expensive computers built with best-of-breed components for reliability, not just performance. As such, once they hit retirement age, they still have years of useful life left in them, so they represent an incredible value.
Why are there two standards for computers, and why do Apple computers enjoy a cult following while PCs seem bland and boring and offer nothing but a low price? I think Simon Sinek’s theory of the Golden Circle applies to computer marketing and provides a good explanation.
Apple marketing starts with why they build things, proceeds to how they build them, and ends with what they are. PC marketing generally emphasizes compatibility and price, which leaves you vulnerable to someone beating you on price, and doesn’t build a following.
Are laser printers good for home use? I recommend them. Their upfront cost is higher than a low-end inkjet but they tend to be more reliable and economical in the long term, especially on the extremes. If you print only occasionally, consider a laser. If a ream of paper lasts you about a week, consider a laser.
Laser printers tend to be very reliable, but not all of them are designed with service and repair in mind. But generally speaking, the cost of owning and operating a laser printer is lower than that of an inkjet.
It’s possible to use a modern AC adapter to make a power supply for vintage machines. Sometimes this is desirable, because the modern supply may be more reliable than the old ones. But we have to know how to wire it. Here’s how to find positive and negative DC wires so you can wire the supply up properly when you change its plug.
To find the positive and negative wires, apply power to the AC adapter, set your multimeter to DC, then apply the red and black leads to the output and find a combination that gives you positive voltage. Whichever wire is connected to your multimeter’s red lead is positive, and the one on the black lead is negative or ground.
I’m a mechanical keyboard fan. Mechanical keyboards have gone in and out of fashion, but I kept using them regardless. I only see one drawback with them: the cost. So what does a mechanical keyboard cost? And why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?
A mechanical keyboard costs 10 or even 20 times as much as a cheap membrane keyboard, so the price can be off-putting. The reason is because mechanical keyboards have many more parts, and they are more labor intensive to make. The cost is easier to justify if you use it a lot, but the price does make it feel like a commitment.
It probably wasn’t the first format war and it certainly wasn’t the last. But VHS vs Beta, the battle of VCR formats, has served as a cautionary tale for more than a generation now. But there was no single reason why VHS beat Betamax. It was an accumulation of things that led to VHS winning.
Betamax was first on the market, and it had better image quality and generally better build quality. But VHS cost less and the tapes gave a longer run time, so in the end VHS won because it achieved critical mass among early adopters first.
In the personal computer market, Apple and Microsoft are effectively a duopoly. And for some reason, both companies seem to like it that way. Why did Microsoft beat Apple? And why doesn’t Apple seem to care? The answer is nuanced, but not super hard to understand.
Microsoft beat Apple in personal computer market share because Microsoft achieved critical mass first, with a cheaper, good-enough product. Apple learned from this, then did the same thing to Microsoft in the MP3 player, phone, and tablet markets.
Is there such thing as a gigabit USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter? There is, but they’re hard to find because gigabit runs faster than the limits of USB 2.0. But you can use a gigabit USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter on a USB 2.0 port and it will function.
When you plug a USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter into a USB 2.0 port, it will still work at reduced speed, as long as your operating system has a driver for it. It will still negotiate a gigabit link speed with your Ethernet switch, and you’ll get whatever speeds your system can manage. It will be faster than 100 megabits.
Can magnets damage electronics? It’s a common question, or at least a common belief, especially among people over the age of 30. But the danger that household magnets pose to modern electronics is minimal and grows smaller with each passing year.
While a household magnet can theoretically damage a hard drive, it’s only under unusual circumstances, and more and more electronics are moving away from magnetic hard drives. Household magnets have no effect on computer chips. Household magnets could damage the media older computers used for storage and make CRTs act strange, but that’s where the idea came from and both of these technologies are fading from use.